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State Responds to the Opioid Crisis

opioid crisisAll 50 states in America face the problems surrounding the opioid crisis. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that about 2.5 million American residents are opioid dependent, while the National Safety Council, one of the few nonprofit organizations to focus on the problem, recently graded all 50 states on their response to the opioid crisis. The results of this study shows that our country still has much to do in dealing with its opioid consumption problem.


A poor response from most states

In its recent grading, the National Safety Council rated 28 states “Failed.” It reported that 47 of the 50 states need to improve on their response to the problem. Six indicators were used to grade these states and only five of the 50 states met up to five of the indicators. Experts have noted that the opioid crisis is this serious because many of these drugs are prescribed legally. Things begin to get out of control when patients get access to these drugs from just any dealer on the street. In many cases, the roadside option is significantly less expensive.

The case of Vermont

Vermont, according to the survey, is one of the states that best deals with its opioid crisis. Jane Terry, government affairs director at the NSC, says the state has one of the highest numbers of people dying from opioids. She notes that Vermont has been hit so hard that it now takes serious measures to deal with the problem.

Vermont is actually one of the very few states in America with sufficient facilities to deal with its opioid dependent residents. According to Christopher Jones, PharmD, Vermont’s approach is yielding positive results. Jones is the director of the Division of Science Policy in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The case of Nebraska

The NSC report shows that Nebraska is one of the states that struggles most in dealing with its opioid crisis. A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services says Nebraska is doing a lot to solve the problem. She said the state runs a prescription drug monitoring program and has made more accessible, the anti-overdose drug Naloxone. The representative mentioned that Nebraska also gives out several preventive and treatment oriented grants. Unfortunately, these measures did not find a place among the six indicators used by the NSC in its grading process.

The opioid crisis in America like in many other parts of the world, is real. A couple of studies have been carried out on the issue and they show that America generally performs poorly, dealing with this crisis. While state officials struggle to meet up with the challenge of dealing with the problem, some of them have expressed worries of existing studies not properly presenting the true picture of the problem. Some state officials are also voicing out concerns of conflicting points of view amongst themselves. These issues only help to further complicate the problem, but state officials say they are ready to do everything possible to find a solution.


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